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posted on 24 September 2016

Early Headlines: Is Secular Middle East Possible?, Why Cruz Flipped, Bubble Mortgage Crisis Lives On, Current US Housing Cycle, US Abandons Syria Truce, Brazil's New Pres. Investigated And More

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Early Bird Headlines 24 September 2016

Econintersect: Here are some of the headlines we found to help you start your day. For more headlines see our afternoon feature for GEI members, What We Read Today, which has many more headlines and a number of article discussions to keep you abreast of what we have found interesting.



In this era of ISIS, many debates in the West center on how followers of Islam will eventually, through a series of steps and growing pains, arrive at liberal democracy. Shadi Hamid, the author of the new book Islamic Exceptionalism: How the Struggle Over Islam is Reshaping the World, believes that Muslims don't want that path. In this animated interview byThe Atlantic, Hamid explains how not only was the Prophet Mohammed a religious figure, he was a politician. In fact, for much of the Middle East's existence, there hasn't been a separation of religion and governance.


  • Top Clinton aide granted immunity deal in FBI probe (The Hill) Top Hillary Clinton aide Cheryl Mills received an immunity deal during the FBI's investigation into the former secretary of State's private email server, lawmakers familiar with the agreement said Friday. Republicans are outraged. According to Oversight Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings, the deal was "limited" and does not immunize Mills "for any statements she made to the FBI, Congress, or other investigators." Mills and Heather Samuelson, who were acting as Clinton's attorneys, turned over their computers to the FBI as part of its probe into whether Clinton illegally transmitted classified information through the server. Mills and Samuelson had used the laptops to sort out what they believed to be Clinton's personal emails, before turning over the remainder of her work emails to the State Department in December of 2014. The immunity deal promised that the Justice Department would not prosecute Mills or Samuelson based on information obtained from the laptops, committee Democrats report. See also FBI releases interviews with Clinton aides (The Hill)

  • Why Cruz flipped on Trump (The Hill) Sen. Ted Cruz surprised and dismayed many conservatives Friday when he announced his support for Donald Trump It was a move that, only a short while before, one prominent Cruz ally had said would make no sense. Cruz positioned himself during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July as the rare politician who would put principle ahead of party loyalty, pointedly refusing to endorse Trump during a primetime speech. Sources familiar with Cruz's thinking say he now acknowledges he underestimated the intensity of the negative backlash that would ensue. Cruz allies have stated that he left Cleveland well positioned to run as a principled conservative in the 2020 Republican presidential primary - assuming Hillary Clinton would beat Trump in November.

  • Trump Warns that Clinton Will Rig the Debate (The New Yorker) Andy Borowitz is at it again. Andy claims that Trump told a political rally:

"You just watch, folks, Crooked Hillary is going to slip in little facts all night long, and that's how she's going to try to rig the thing."

  • Cartoon from the New Yorker


  • The Housing Bubble Mortgage Crisis Drags On (Keith Jurow) Provided by KJ via email. You may have thought the crisis associated with the housing bubble that peaked in most markets some 10 years ago was largely over. In some aspects it is not only far from over, but problems are still growing. Nearly 3 out of 10 non-agency mortgages (mortgages not underwritten by quasi-government agencies Fannie, Freddie and Ginnie Mae) are now more than 5 years delinquent but still in force (not foreclosed). In a few states the delinquencies are more than 50%. This means that there are some RMBS (residential mortgaged backed securities) out there that are very toxic and have been becoming more so over the past four years. Be very careful if you try to "reach for yield" by buying some RMBS - the prices may not reflect future foreclosure risks that are still building. Note: Most non-agency mortgages were issued by financial institutions for borrowers who could not qualify for agency mortgages. These high risk mortgages were commonly Alt-A or subprime and frequently so-called "liars' loans" (although the lying was often initiated by the mortgage brokers involved). Through financial alchemy many triple-A rated RMBS were issued with packages including these loans. Keith Jurow has been following real estate markets for many years and has access to comprehensive data sources that many other "experts" do not have. For more information visit his website.

Those born in the 1970s have fallen from having a 4% higher than normal homeownership rate in 2004 to a 7% lower than normal homeownership rate today.

The housing crisis hit the 1970s Balancers harder than any other generation. We call those born in the 1970s Balancers because they best represent the clear shift in the US toward more work/personal balance. See our generational definitions by clicking here. We could have called them the Foreclosure Generation.




  • Cartoon from The Hill 2012 (Forwarded by Roger Erickson via e-mail)


  • Turkish cleric calls for international body to examine coup charges (Reuters) The U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen has called for an international commission to investigate Turkey's charge that he orchestrated a failed coup last July, and said he would accept the findings if such a body found evidence of his guilt. Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania since 1999, told the German broadcaster ZDF in an interview broadcast on Friday that there was no evidence linking him to the thwarted putsch, which he has denounced. He accused Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan of using the coup to silence opponents.



  • The Coming Crisis in Mosul (The New Yorker) humanitarian catastrophe is looming over northern Iraq. As many as a million people are expected to stream out of Mosul when Iraqi government forces, backed by the United States, move to retake the city from ISIS, which took control two years ago. The much anticipated military operation could begin as early as next month, but aid workers here say they do not have anywhere near the resources, money, or manpower to deal with the expected human tide. Alex Milutinovic, the director of the International Rescue Committee in Erbil, said:

"It's a nightmare - a disaster heading our way,. The Iraqi government is determined to destroy ISIS, but it is impossible to accommodate the number of refugees the military operation is going to produce."


  • Brazil Supreme Court OKs probe into allegations citing Temer (Reuters) Brazil's Supreme Court on Friday approved a preliminary investigation into plea bargain deal allegations from former Transpetro head Sergio Machado that President Michel Temer had solicited campaign donations in 2012 that had illicit origin. This is the successor to impeached president Dilma Rousseff and a ringleader of the impeachment process.

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